A woman who was convicted of murder as a teenager for killing a man who sexually abused and pimped her has been pardoned.
Sara Kruzan was just 16 years old when she murdered George Gilbert Howard. She was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty of murder.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Kruzan met Howard when she was 11 years old, and soon after, she was forced to have sex with other men.
The governor reduced Kruzan’s prison sentence to 25 years and included in his clemency petition the chance of parole.
Kruzan was released from prison when she was 35 years old after a judge lowered her sentence two years later. The publication reported that her conviction affected her ability to get a job.
Kruzan, who was sentenced to life imprisonment without parole, was pardoned by the Governor on July 1.
In Newsom’s pardon, he declared that Kruzan had “provided evidence that she is living an upright life and has demonstrated her fitness for restoration of civic rights and responsibilities”.
“Since then, Ms. Kruzan has transformed her life and dedicated herself to community service,” Newsom said. “This act of clemency for Ms. Kruzan does not minimize or forgive her conduct or the harm it caused. It does recognize the work she has done since to transform herself.”
California pardoned a woman who spent 18 years in prison for killing a man who trafficked/sexually abused her starting when she was 13.
Sara Kruzan was sentenced to life for killing her abuser in 1994, at age 17. She was freed in 2013. The pardon doesn't expunge her conviction. pic.twitter.com/cIgXbBdaMz
— AJ+ (@ajplus) July 4, 2022
A press release from the governor’s office said that the pardon does work to remove barriers to employment and public service.
Kruzan is a convicted felon in California. Her legal team sent a formal request to the district attorney’s office to examine the case again, asking them to remove the criminal conviction.
According to the LA Times, Kruzan says that the decision has released invisible chains that he didn’t realize were in him.
“Do I wanna move forward with love? Or do I wanna move forward with fear, anger, and pain?” Kruzan said. “Now, I wanna move forward in love. And that takes a lot of courage to do that.”